Making a new home in the Holy Land

Life as a consecrated woman is one of obedience and availability to serve in whatever way we are asked. I never imagined being asked to go to the Hold Land. As a matter of fact I never even set my hoped on going for a visit or accompanying a group on a pilgrimage. And now here I am, making my home in the place where Jesus walked, taught, preached, healed, redeemed us! It reminds me of a last conversation I had with my Mother before she passed away. She said she had lived in many places that she loved, but her real home was heaven, the real Promised Land.

While the news speaks of war, and truly it does exist in the Gaza strip, Jerusalem and the surrounding areas have been very peaceful. (I hope that convinces you to come and visit despite the news :))

I arrived to the Notre Dame Center which belongs to the Vatican, but where the Legionaries of Christ priests and consecrated women of Regnum Christi are serving, helping with the pilgrims and some other aspects of the center. From the rooftop you can see all of Jerusalem and beyond.

Looking towards the east, where the sun rises, I can see the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus bore the weight of our sins to the point of sweating blood. I was reminded of Christ who is referred to as the dawn. In him we have a new start, a new life thanks to his Paschal mystery.

I remembered the proximity of this place to where I am living now when I read this morning’s Mass readings:

Ezekiel 43 “This is where my throne shall be, this is where I will set the soles of my feet, here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever.”And the Psalm ”Justice and peace shall kiss.”

Here in the “Promised Land of the Chosen People”, Jesus embraced the justice demanded for the payment of our sins, which liberates us and brings us peace that only God can give. Yet, it is still a land of much division and animosity between peoples, perhaps a sign of the division that dwells in the human heart. But God promised Ezekiel that he would set up his throne here and dwell among the children of Israel forever. And so he does, through the redemptive sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Here I am in the Holy Land where Christ made possible the deepest peace we can experience – the grace of redemption, which is the outpouring of his love and mercy. Yet, every day in the Eucharist we encounter that saving grace and his redemptive blood poured upon our souls. In the encounter between our sinfulness and God’s outpouring of redemptive grace, justice and peace kiss. God comes to dwell within us, setting up, so to speak, his throne within us. He comes to reign, to be the King in my life.

For this reason, I rejoice in the faith God has given me and invite you to do the same!


About Jennifer Ristine

Jennifer is a consecrated woman and member of the Regnum Christi Movement. She is originally from Chicago, currently running the Magdalena Institute at Magdala, Israel. She has a Master of Arts in Theology, Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral and Religious Studies (in conjunction with Regina Apostolorum, Rome), and a Bachelors of Science in Special Education (Learning Disabled and ‎Behavior Disordered).
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